Doers Get Ahead On Their Own


Coping with a boss who fails to look ahead, focusing instead on bottom-line results and quick fixes, is challenging for a Doer. Such myopically focused managers use their power to keep things from happening by putting previously agreed-upon actions on hold, overriding the recommendations of subordinates and making arbitrary decisions with no explanation.

Unfortunately, such managers do not know what success looks like, so you may have to “picture it” for them. Begin by describing what the situation looks like from your perspective. Make it clear that the current situation is unacceptable to you and that it must not continue as is. Help your boss to understand why, and get him or her to accept the need for things to improve. Finally, state your goals and tell the person what you expect when the goals are reached.

Your biggest challenge as a Doer will be to produce results that are appreciated. The fact is, your desire for success may violate the status quo and upset your boss. If you do manage to make a difference, make sure the boss knows that it was you who did it. But, do not be surprised if he or she fails to notice or acknowledge your achievements.

If you are new to the job, listen to the war stories to see who usually wins. Find out who the “heroes and heroines” are and learn how they claimed their fame. If what they did makes sense to you, then set your goals higher and get to work.

Three factors are key to maintaining a sense of personal worth in a nonproductive environment:

  1. There must be opportunities for you to make a measurable difference.
  2. There must be opportunities for you to grow and develop.
  3. There must be opportunities for you to do things that others cannot or will not do.

As long as all three factors are present, you may find satisfaction regardless of what how the boss behaves. However, if these opportunities diminish in value or cease to inspire you, it is likely that you can do no more. Your next move is to update your resume and plan a graceful exit.


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